Mesmerizing time-lapses show how crowded Chinese cities have become

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chinese cities

Alamy

Shanghai's Lujiazui financial district in Pudong has undergone rapid development in the past decade.

Approximately 1.4 billion people - roughly 20% of the world's population - live in China.

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By 2020, China aims to move 100 million of those people from rural areas into cities - a goal the government unveiled in 2013 in its 23-year plan for urbanization. By 2026, China hopes to move 250 million into cities. The country hopes that relocating people into urban environments will give the economy a big boost.

The plan is relatively new, but China has been urbanizing for the last 40 years. As The Guardian notes, China now has over 600 cities, many of which were small towns and farms just a few decades ago. The majority were built in order to alleviate pressure on overcrowded cities, like Shanghai and Beijing.

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The country's exponential population growth is evident in the time-lapse images, captured by Google satellites. Check out the images below: